Saturday, February 18, 2006

Thanking God for the Gift of Marriage & ROBIN

Thanking God for ROBIN

Way back in the beginning, when God surveyed His awesome handiwork of creation, He beamed with proper pride and said to Himself "good job!" (see Genesis 1-3). He rated His work as "very good", setting an example of a holy work ethic.

Yet, when God had Adam inventory and catalogue the animals, a hole was revealed. A divinely designed deficiency - not defect - was discovered. God allowed Adam to make an important discovery: perfect though he was (this was pre-Fall), Adam was nonetheless incomplete.

The animals not being a suitable companion for Adam, he and God agreed that it was not good (or safe!) for man to be alone. Our gracious Creator took surgical steps to fill in the hole to help make man whole - He formed Eve and brought her to Adam - the first arranged marriage.

Marriage was God's idea, plan and gift. One man, one woman, becoming one, "until death do they part." It is not a dead or deadening institution, but a life enhancing means of favor from God. As Scripture affirms, it is a sinful and deadly business to attempt to tear apart what God brings together.

Two events have me mulling over these matters. Valentine’s Day and a wedding I am honored to do soon for Ben & Alexis. I mention them as a tribute and so you can pray for them and all newlyweds.

For the record: If any man is half as blessed with and through his wife as I am, he too is blessed beyond what he deserves. I give testimony to God's word in Proverbs 18:22. "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD" (NIV).

I have come to believe that as when God put Adam in a deep sleep to bring forth Eve from his side, so too God must cause women to swoon deeply to cause them to marry the likes of us. Most men marry far better than their wives. I certainly did.

Talk about the deal of the century. God must have caused a suspension of good judgment and vision for my wife to say "I do" to me. Thank you Lord for that favor. I cannot imagine life without my sweet soul mate.

As much growing up as I still have to do, it scares me and terrifies others to think of how much more immature I would be were it not for her. A guy gets past his teen years and thinks he is somewhat mature. God then allows us to marry and quickly and graciously reminds us how selfish and petty we still are.

For those blessed with children, He repeats the process through them. Though women have growing up to do as well, they usually stay a step (can you say "giant leap"?) ahead of men. Longsuffering is a trait God possesses and often develops in women through men (see James 1:1-12). No need to thank us.

God alone knows the contribution my dear wife has had to my life and ministry. While she has not been an anchor holding me back, she has kept me from drifting into dangerous waters, many shipwrecks and neglecting needed harbor time to retool and rest.

Robin, my gift from God, has willingly gone without, cheerfully made do and displayed flexibility beyond reason to her husband's - that would be me - lack of forethought or aft-thought (a new word; dedicated to her.)

Beyond laughing at my jokes, she provides my best sounding board and screening device. Many have been spared much due to her godly, timely insight. I have been protected countless times as well.

Bearing and raising five children is not conducive to the enjoyment of chocolate Bon Bons, feet up, TV remote in hand or phone under the ear. My beloved is one of the hardest workers I know.

As the old poem goes: "A man may work from dusk to dawn, but a woman's work is never done." Laundry and dishes seem to be far more fertile than we are. With four boys romping through the house- five counting me - repairs can pile up almost as fast.

The demands of ministry fall to me in the context of my family. Late night calls, emergencies that pull me away, meetings, the pressures of shepherding. Robin has and does willingly bear these with grace and maturity. She makes it possible for me to brag that we are truly a team.

I could easily go on about her tiresome efforts, incredible meals, patience, forgiveness and endurance, but I fear providing ammo for her and conviction for me if I continue.

Happy belated Valentines Day, my precious gift from God. I could never begin to repay you for who you are, what you have done, endured and overlooked. True to style, you would not demand or accept repayment anyway, for you have done these things unto the Lord.

You have lived out the verse you had inscribed inside my wedding band: "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God" 1 John 4:7 (NIV). Your love shows that you have indeed been born of and know God. What a gift you are! I love you.

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